Benjamin Franklin's Method of Habit Formation
Benjamin Franklin, inventor, statesman, writer, publisher
and economist relates in his autobiography that early in his
life he decided to focus on arriving at moral perfection.
He made a list of 13 virtues, assigning a page to each. Under
each virtue he wrote a summary that gave it fuller meaning.
Then he practiced each one for a certain length of time.
To make these virtues a habit, Franklin can up with a method
to grade himself on his daily actions. In a journal he drew
a table with a row for every virtue and a column for every
day of the week. Every time he made a fault, he made a mark
in the appropriate column. Each week he focused his attention
on a different virtue. Over time, through repetition, he hoped
to one day experience the pleasure of "viewing a clean Book."
He says that he carried out this personal examination for
years. In order to do the work thoroughly he decided to attempt
each virtue and a quarter of its importance - one at a time.
He began with temperance, which included the moderating of
every pleasure or inclination to develop undesirable habits,
because temperance "tends to procure that coolness and clearance
and head that is so necessary where constant vigilance is
to be kept up and guard maintained against the unremitting
attraction of ancient habits and the force of perpetual temptations."
The other virtues practiced in succession by Franklin were
silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity,
Justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and
humility. For the summary order he followed a little scheme
of employing his time each day. From five to seven each morning
he spent in bodily personal attention, saying a short prayer,
thinking over the day's business and resolutions, studying
and eating breakfast. From eight till twelve he worked at
his trade. From twelve to one he read or overlooked his accounts
and dined. From two to five he worked at his trade. The rest
of the evening until 10 he spent in music, or diversion of
This time is used also to put things in their places. In the
last thing before retiring was examination of the day. At
the age of 79, he ascribed his health to temperance; the acquisition
of his fortune to industry and frugality; the confidence of
his country to sincerity and justice.
Franklin's extraordinary success in life and politics can
be attributed to his perseverance to overcome his personal
liabilities, and his desire to constantly become better.
Next time you really want to achieve something, take time
to focus on your own personal journal. What is your temptation
that is standing in your way to greatness? What can you do
to form the habit of becoming a success?
Alexis Froehlich has been blessed to be guided by
several mentors. If you are ready to experience success -
in health and wealth - you are welcome to visit her website
and receive a valuable bonus ebook at Health Secrets - www.secretsforhealth.com/free
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